By Kyle Ponterio – Stack’s Bowers Auctions ……
This week’s highlight from the Q. David Bowers collection of Chinese Copper Coins being offered in our April 2-4, 2018 Hong Kong auction as a stand along catalog is the mysterious Honan Pattern 500 Cash. Very little is actually known about this issue, with much speculation.
The general thought is that there are only 12 known or struck, but according to author Duan Honggang in his outstanding study of Chinese copper coins The Comprehensive Catalog of Chinese Copper Coins, there are several different varieties with about 33 known total examples. He illustrates examples of each variety with an explanation of the differences between them. Duan also goes on to state that the issuer of these mysterious patterns was the accomplished Liu Zhi who was Governor of Honan. After the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War Liu lost his military prowess and was removed from several appointed positions.
The short-lived Honan 500 Cash is the largest denomination copper coin ever issued in China. The obverse design features the crossed flags of the nationalist Kuomintang within beaded border, four characters above, “Zhonghua mingguo” (Republic of China), denomination “500 Cash” below, floral spays at sides, all within Greek border. While the reverse displays the denomination in three characters “Wu Bai Wen” (500 Hundred Cash (Wen)) within wreath, all within Greek border.
The three variations of this issue include a totally finished product with all of the design features present such as the piece being offered in April, tin-plated examples of the finished product, and examples where the Kuomintang flag on the right is incomplete missing the nationalist emblem. Regardless of variety, all are considered extremely rare and highly prized. These coveted patterns are an icon of Chinese copper coinage and of unmistakable rarity. We expect to see spirited bidding on this specimen, which is fully worthy of a premium bid.
The chance to acquire such a piece is not to be missed as another may not appear for many years.
We are no longer accepting consignments for our April Hong Kong auction. We are however taking consignments of world and ancient coins and world paper money for our May Collectors Choice Online (CCO), our August 2018 Hong Kong, August 2018 American Numismatic Association (ANA), October 2018 Collectors Choice Online (CCO) and our 2019 New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC) auctions. If you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity), then contact one of our consignment directors.